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Why is the 1921 Mercury dime so valuable?

Mercury Dime Value Simplified

Do you have a stash of Mercury Dimes (or just a couple) but are not sure if they are worth anything? Unfortunately, there isn’t one single value of all Mercury Dimes. It’s a bit more complicated than that. The range of prices is quite large and depends on a wide range of factors. Many are only worth a few dollars at best, but rare Mercury Dimes can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The value of rare coins is subjective, but a few indicators can help you make a rough estimate of how much your Mercury Dimes are worth.

Table of Contents [ Show ]

  • What Are Mercury Dimes?
  • How to Tell if Your Mercury Dimes Are Valuable
  • How Much Are Mercury Dimes Worth?
  • Other Coins You Might Like Even More
  • So Are Mercury Dimes Worth Selling?

What Are Mercury Dimes?

The Mercury Dime, also known as the Winged Liberty Head Dime, is a 10-cent coin that was issued by the United States Mint between 1916 and 1945. The coin was designed by German-American sculptor Adolph A. Weinman and features a profile of Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap on the obverse and a fasces with an olive branch on the reverse.

A fasces is a bundle of wooden rods tied together with an ax head attached. It’s an ancient symbol from the Etruscan culture that was adopted by the Roman Republic thousands of years ago. It represents power and authority.

How to Tell if Your Mercury Dimes Are Valuable

In coin collecting, the worth of a coin is often heavily dependent on its rarity. This is true for the value of Mercury dimes. But how do you know what a rare Mercury Dime looks like? A few special characteristics that you can spot pretty easily will tell you if a coin is rare.

Note the condition of the coin. Because they were first circulated more than 100 years ago and left circulation in 1945, Mercury Dimes in impeccable condition can be worth a few hundred dollars or more. Generally, the earlier the coin in great condition is, the more it will be worth. Even the highest grades of Mercury Dimes minted in the 40s and late 30s (without errors or other valuable marks) are only worth a few dollars.

The 1916 D Mercury Dime is often considered the most valuable of its kind because only a few hundred thousand were ever minted. Here are a few more key dates to look out for: 1921 D, 1926 S and 1942/41 (has an overstamp mint error).

If you suspect your Mercury Dimes are rare you might want to have them professionally graded to make sure you know what they are really worth before you sell them.

How Much Are Mercury Dimes Worth?

The best way to get a quick rough estimate of the value of your Mercury DImes is to search your coins’ details and look at recent sales. You may need to estimate the condition of your coins, but the scale is simple and has distinct tiers with clear definitions. You can learn more about coin grading in Benzinga’s article breaking down the differences between uncirculated, circulated and proof coins.

Other Coins You Might Like Even More

The coin-collecting world is diverse and full of fascinating coins. Here are some that you might like.

American Gold Eagle Coins

The American Gold Eagle Coin is a bullion coin minted by the United States Mint since 1986. Made from 22-karat gold, these coins come in sizes ranging from 1/10 to 1 ounce. They are one of the most popular forms of gold bullion in the U.S., even though they are 22 karats. American Gold Eagle coins are technically legal tender, but their face value is only $50, much lower than the value of gold in the coin (including the 1/10 ounce coin).

Many precious metals dealers carry American Gold Eagles because of their high demand; some notable platforms include Advantage Gold, Red Rock Secured, American Hartford Gold, Augusta Precious Metals and Birch Gold Group. You can buy these coins to be delivered directly or you can buy them with an IRA with the platforms listed.

American Buffalo Gold Coin

The American Buffalo Gold Coin is a popular bullion coin that replicates the iconic design of the Buffalo Nickel. First issued in 2006, this 1-ounce, 24-karat gold coin has become an increasingly sought-after investment vehicle because of its tangible value and aesthetic appeal.

The U.S. Mint also offers proof versions, which are struck twice for greater clarity and shine. You can purchase American Buffalo Gold coins from reputable precious metals providers such as Advantage Gold, Red Rock Secured, American Hartford Gold or Birch Gold Group.

So Are Mercury Dimes Worth Selling?

You will likely have to do some research before determining whether your Mercury Dimes are worth selling. If you happen to find a rare one, it may absolutely be worth selling. However, if your dimes aren’t too rare or they are in poor condition, they may be much better as collector items.

1921-D Key Date Mercury Silver Dime in NGC VF 30

We are pleased to offer for sale this 1921-D Mercury Silver Dime KEY DATE graded and encapsulated as VF-30 by NGC . There were only 1,080,000 of this 1921 Mercury Dime minted at the Denver (D) Mint, making it one of the KEY DATE coins of the series!

The Mercury Silver Dime series ran from 1916 through 1945. Mercury Silver Dimes weigh 2.5 grams and are comprised of .900 silver and .100 copper. These 90% Silver Mercury Dimes have a diameter of 17.9mm. This Mercury Silver Dime is of great worth and value to the collector who needs to fill a hole in their Mercury Silver Dime set. We offer an incredible selection of PCGS and NGC certified Mercury Silver Dimes !

Don’t miss out on this rare 1921-D Mercury Silver Dime Key Date in NGC VF 30 at this great price!

At a glance
Denver (D)
Coin Type:
Mercury Dime
Dime (10C)
Grade Detail:
VF 30
.9 (90%) Silver and 0.1 (10%) Copper. Over all composition is 90% Silver
Edge Type:
17.91 mm
2.50 grams (each)

1921-D Key Date Mercury Silver Dime in NGC VF 30

1921-D Key Date Mercury Silver Dime in NGC VF 30


What is a Certified Coin?

Certified coins, also known as slabbed coins or just slabs, are coins that have been graded by a third-party grading service. Once graded, the coin is sonically sealed in a tamper-evident plastic coin holder known as a slab. Certified coins can provide an extra measure of security when buying coins, insuring that the coin is authentic, problem free and un-doctored. Furthermore, some services offer an additional guarantee that the coin has not been over graded and maintain policies to protect the buyer.

All of the respected services grade coins according to wear, using industry standards. These standards can be found in two books, Official A.N.A. Grading Standards for United States Coins and the book Photograde: A Photographic Grading Guide for United States Coins.

In the business of coin grading, there are two services that stand out, Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), and Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC). Both were established in the mid 1980s and are considered the «Gold Standard» of grading services. These are the companies that every other company is compared to.

Both PCGS & NGC guarantee the grade and authenticity of any Certified Coin that meets their high standards. Each coin is closely examined by two or three expert graders and then sonically sealed in a tamper-evident plastic holder, with a serial number, description & grade. PCGS & NGC coins can be traded site unseen with confidence.

2023 Red Book

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1921 Dime Value

Minimum 1921 dime value is $41 for a coin in «good» condition, your coin is a scarce date worth well above most other dates in the Mercury dime series.

Uncirculated 1921 Dime Value

And depending on the mint that struck your dime there is the possibility of an even higher change in value.

Creating a rare dime, the Denver mint, identified by a «D» mintmark, struck the least amount of dimes in 1921. In great demand by collectors, today’s value of a moderately worn example is $125.

Also moving values up or down is the eye appeal of your coin, is it sharply detailed or very worn? The coin pictured here is an «uncirculated» 1921 dime with a value well above $1,400 because of its above average uncirculated condition.

Below are images of Mercury dimes in various stages of wear, each representing large swings in value. Compare your coin to these grading images and judge how much your 1921 dime is worth.

1921 Dime D Mintmark Location

A mint marked 1921 dime is worth significantly more than the Philadelphia coin.

The Denver mint used a «D» to distinguish dimes struck at their facility. Mintmarks are found on the reverse along the rim. Dimes without a mark were struck in Philadelphia.

1921 Dime Value
Condition of Coin
1921 Dime Value Updated5/8/2023
1921 D$53$122$557$1,198

Lustrous 1921 Dime Value

Seldom does the opportunity to bid on a rare gem 1921 Mercury dime appear. Seldom is the coin as lustrous, well struck, and abrasion free as this coin. Finding a nice 1921 to add to a collection is always a challenge.

Competition to own this stunning example drove the price to $3,450 at a David Lawrence Rare Coin Auction. A low mintage coin, therefore always scarce, with most survivors circulated and worn. Advanced collectors seeking the best are willing to bid high for the right coin.

Your 1921 dime is a challenging key to completing the Mercury dime collection. Value is determined by condition, originality of its surfaces and boldness of strike. The demand for the date is always high.

Rare 1921 Mercury Dime

Condition Drives 1921 Dime Value Higher

The chart shows the value of a 1921 dime in «extremely fine» condition is far higher than a coin in «good» condition, highlighting the importance of accurately determining the condition of your coins. Collectors and dealers are always searching for the best quality, best preserved coins. They judge the condition of each and assign a «grade.» Comparing your coins to the images finds the accurate condition value on the chart.

1921 Dime Uncirculated Condition

Uncirculated: At the top in value and desirability an Uncirculated Mercury dime is in the same condition as it left the mint, there is no wear on the coin. The delicate mint luster is unbroken and still covers the entire surface. Examine high points of the design for signs of wear, it occurs first on the hair above the eye and Liberty’s cheek just below the eye.

1921 Dime Extremely Fine Condition

Extremely Fine: Although this coin has been in circulation, it sill remains very detailed in appearance. Across the surface a small amount of wear is visible. The feather details of the wing above Liberty’s ear have worn and lost detail but remain separated. Also a slight flatness to the once rounded cheek is noticeable. On the reverse, all of the vertical lines of the «fasces» are separated. Your coin is a nice collectible condition with a premium 1921 dime value.

1921 Dime Fine Condition

Fine: After serving for an extended period of time your dime has lost considerable detail. Liberty’s portrait once distinguished by feathers in a wing above her ear is hard to recognize. Additionally the hair running along her fore head under her cap is now quite flat, the curls hard to see.

1921 Dime Good Condition

Good: Heavy wear has removed most of the design, leaving only Liberty’s portrait in outline. Protection once afforded by the rim is now blending with the lettering. The central device on the reverse «fasces» is worn smooth, again the rim is worn significantly into the lettering.

Coin Values | CoinStudy Articles

Date by Date
In Depth Mercury Dime Values
1916 to 1945

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